The President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, issued Federal Decree-Law No. (56) of 2023 on the establishment of the UAE Accountability Authority.
The new Authority will replace the supreme audit institution, and will report directly to His Highness the President.
With the objective of maintaining and improving the integrity of public finances, the new Authority will be the supreme authority for financial control, audit, integrity and transparency in the country.
The issued Federal Decree-Law regulates the UAE Accountability Authorityits functions and multifaceted contribution, together with other specialized authorities, in the preservation of public funds through the supervision of financial, accounting and operational activities in the entities subject to its supervision, in order to combat financial and administrative corruption; and strengthen their risk management systems, optimize their detection, limit their causes and hold perpetrators accountable.
According to the Decree, the Authority aims to enhance the inculcation of integrity, accountability, transparency and good governance in the federal government and the entities subject to the Authority, to reinforce the country’s reputation and confidence in its financial and economic system.
The functions of the Authority include reviewing and auditing the Consolidated Annual Report of the federal government and express an opinion on it, as well as audit the separate and combined annual financial statements in the entities subject to the control of the Authority, considering the laws and regulations that establish said entities.
They are also responsible for evaluating the efficiency and effectiveness of the internal control systems for financial and operational operations, as well as establishing supreme policies regarding integrity and the fight against financial and administrative corruption, prior to their approval by the President of the United Arab Emirates. In addition to ensuring the effectiveness and economic efficiency of the financial and operational activities of government entities and their adherence to laws, legislation, regulations, policies, decisions and standards of good governance.
According to the Decree, the heads of the entities subject to supervision and the competent ministers must implement the conclusions of the supervision carried out by the Authority. It requires them to provide responses to the Authority within a period of no more than (30) days from the date of their notification, extendable under specific conditions.
According to the Decree, the Authority review and undertake administrative investigations into complaints and reports related to any misappropriation of funds and assets belonging to regulated entities, conflicts of interest, abuse of authority, disclosure of official data and information, or exploitation of public office for personal gain or the benefit of third parties .
The functions of Authority They involve implementing preventive measures, controls for administrative investigations, financial disclosures, identifying robust mechanisms to protect whistleblowers and witnesses, as well as initiatives to recover public funds and comprehensively defining financial and administrative violations, including decisions related to taking actions or abstain from them. , or make statements that may directly or indirectly affect the reputation of the country and its financial and economic interests.
To ensure appropriate accounting and governance practices, the Authority is authorized to audit, examine and review any documents, data, information, reports or digital records, or any electronic systems of the subject entities. You are also authorized to access external audit reports; in addition to accessing the electronic systems and programs of the entities to evaluate the protection of their official data and information, as well as the entities and people who work with them, in coordination with the corresponding authorities.
The Decree also describes the procedures for conducting an administrative investigation, in which the Authority informs the entity subject to its supervision or the competent authority, so that it may impose a disciplinary sanction on the offending employee. The effort should lead to the recovery of illegally obtained public funds by the offender, who should compensate for the damages caused. Decisions on the measures imposed by the entity must be submitted to the Authority within 15 days following the date of notification. The procedures also include the referral by the Authority of the administrative investigation documents to the competent prosecutor’s office, in the event that the investigation reveals a suspicion of a criminal offense. The regulations on anti-corruption procedures include the provisions and controls for carrying out an administrative investigation.
The Federal Decree-Law authorizes the granting of an incentive, whether moral or financial, to any person who provides substantial information that allows the discovery of a crime of financial and administrative corruption. The Decree establishes the procedures to grant exemption from the prescribed sanctions to persons who, as collaborators or partners, report their participation in acts of financial and administrative corruption before their disclosure.
The Decree authorizes preserving the administrative investigation by reaching an agreement that leads to the recovery of public funds, and the provision of information of public interest.
The Decree delimits the entities that are under the authority of the Authority and provides exhaustive definitions of their functions and obligations. It also specifies the functions of the supervisory authority’s staff, clients and auditors.
News source: Emirates News Agency